Legend of the Galactic Heroes Volume 1 – Dawn: Of Space War and Tradition

More related to Legend of the Galactic Heroes then you would think, I’ve been watching a lot of World War One documentaries recently. It’s a war that I knew the bare minimum amount, so I was continually shocked by the amount of incompetence of the leadership on all sides of the war and the barbarism that come from people not understanding how horrible modern weapons could be.Reading this Legend of the Galactic Heroes first volume was so like those documentary videos. The major differences is that Legend of the Galactic Heroes is set during space times AND only focuses on a war between two space nations. Other than that, the similarities are not uncanny. Legend of the Galactic Heroes is also not that unapproachable mess that elitist would want you to believe.Especially if you are a fan of a certain book/tv series by the name of Game of Thrones, because LOGH did a lot of those things years before Game of Thrones was an idea.

If you have ever read my OWLS post on Yang Wenli, then you have a general idea of what Legend of the Galactic Heroes is about. If you don’t want to click that link, this show is like what Star Wars would be like if the Rebel Alliance was on almost equal terms with the empire size wise, the story had a more realistic political narrative, economics are actually considered, battle strategy actually mattered, and there is no force or light sabers. The difference isthat the Rebel Alliance is called the Free Planets Alliance which is a completely different name. The Empire calls them rebels anyway though. This volume was a prologue to the rest of the Legend of the Galactic Heroes world which means that it was tasked with setting up the world and its characters.Believe me when I say I Legend of the Galactic Heroes did that and more. This volume is exactly what you can see in the new Legend of the Galactic Heroes series, but this novel version has a solid conclusion compared the anime that will leave you on a cliff hanger for forever and a half.

Map for Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Volume one has two and a half space battles in it. I say that because one of those is a fortress (Iserlohn) battle in the middle of the volume that ends in a few pages with no blood or casualties lost, but a win for the alliance. There is no way you can call that a battle.  With all that aside, the first battle is called the battle Astarte and where Yang Wenli from the Free Planets Alliance and Count Reinhard von Lohengramm from the Empire are introduced. It was just a light skirmish from the empire invading the FPA which didn’t end well for anyone. And yeah, I say that is a little skirmish because last battle, The Battle of Armritsar at the end of the volume,because the last battle involves thirty million men on the Alliance side and I don’t know how many on the empire side. And boy did that not end well at all for Alliance. At least they have Iserlohn, so the empire couldn’t invade the alliance that easily.

Yang and Reinhard could not possibly be anymore different then one another. I don’t mean just by what space country they are apart of. It comes down to the question of belief and ideals. Yang Wenli is the son of an intergalactic trader.He’s spent so much time living on a space ship that he has no sense of loyalty for the Free Planets Alliance. Later, he joined the military academy in order to study history, because he couldn’t pay student loans otherwise. He became a tactician by per chance. That set in the motion of his reluctant feats and accomplishments which constantly pushed him up the military ranks. Reinhard on the other hand wants to achieve because he wants to take over the galaxy. One doesn’t just take over the galaxy, it takes years of achievements and moving up the ranks and that’s why he wants to do. His sense of pride for his nation is a facade until he becomes the ruler of all.

Yang on the Left, Reinhard on the Right

Movingonto the stuff that nobody wants to get involved in, let’s talk about some politics and economics. Usually this is the stuff that scares people away, because it’s not boring in this novel. At least it isn’t to me. For one thing, all aspects of political talk are very character focused or character based. For example, some of the political talks come from the perspective of Yang and he Is usually extremely bored by feelings of national pride and fighting for the greater good. There are plenty of times when he even brings up his voice in defiance of the battle plan that is about to happen even if he doesn’t get anywhere. Even scenes without our characters in them are at least focused on them in one way or another so there is always a grounding point which keeps the talks of politics and economics of war interesting. Every scene is a max off our or five pages in length and if nothing else, provide a coming doom of what is about to happen to our characters and how bad things are.

When it comes to battle strategies, nobody except a couple of leaders in the last battle of this volume, is ever considered stupid. Considering the fact that the Free Planets Alliance and the Empire have not had any solid and meaningful skirmishes, the older generals are weighed down by traditional and what they know of. In fact, you can call Yang’s strategies from deep military tradition from reading history. Considering that technology has made radar unusable,field tactics with spaceships is the name of the game now. Yang is amazing to apply what he knows to be a great strategist, but Reinhard is the one breaking the rules and continually coming up with new ways to win. Those two differ so much and find themselves constantly at odds with each other.Their fates are truly intertwined.

With three hundred pages of relatable characters, space battles, space politics, and space economics, the first volume of the Legend of the Galactic Heroes light novel series is a great introduction to this universe. The only terrible part is this novels prologue which is thirty pages of deep lore that is as dense and interesting as your blandest history text book. Surviving that,there is so much here to love and explore. I would dare say this volume is better introduction to Legend of the Galactic Heroes then the newer series because it has a snappier pace about it rather than the dry, slow, and emotionless feeling that the newer series has. I hope you guys stick around when I talk about more Galactic Heroes some time in the future. There are a lot of volumes to cover and I am just starting.

You can also find the novel here and the newer anime series on Crunchyroll here.

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